Bangladesh honour D P Dhar for his role in 1971

Dhaka: Indian politician-diplomat D P Dhar was today honoured posthumously by Bangladesh for his "special role" in the country`s 1971 `Liberation War`. "Sree Durga Prasad Dhar is conferred with the Liberation War Friendship Honour (posthumous) in recognition of his pioneering role in concluding the 1971 Indo-Soviet Friendship Treaty, mobilising international support in favour of Bangladesh and playing a special role in support of the Liberation War," read the citation honouring him.

Dhar was the Chairman of Policy Planning in the Indian External Affairs Ministry and played a crucial role in the 1971 Indo-Pak war leading to the creation of an independent Bangladesh. The award was received by his son Vijay Dhar from President Zillur Rahman along with a certificate and a replica of the National Mausoleum. Dhar was among 83 other foreign dignitaries and international organisations honoured as "foreign friend" at a grand ceremony in the capital attended by top political leaders, including Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

Ahead of the ceremony, 70-year-old Vijay Dhar, told PTI that it "is embarrassing for me to review his role being his son…but I can recall how he persuaded Soviet Union" to support the liberation movement. He said like most Indians, his father did not see it as an Indo-Pak war rather as a human tragedy. Dhar, who passed away in 1975 at the age of 56, was India`s Ambassador to the Soviet Union and subsequently became a top policy aide of the then Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.

Other Indians honoured include late PN Haksar, a former close aide to the late prime minister, late Field Marshal SAM Manekshaw, late West Bengal Chief Minister Jyoti Basu and Lt Gen (retd) J F R Jacob, who was the then chief of the Eastern Command of the Indian army. The awardees received a gold-plated silver metallic plaque in which replica of the national mausoleum has been engraved and a citation on a silk cloth. This was the second phase of honouring foreign nationals and organisations for their crucial role in the independence movement after conferring "Bangladesh Freedom Honour" posthumously on Indira Gandhi on July 25 last year. Sonia Gandhi, the late premier`s daughter-in-law and Congress Party chief, received the award on her behalf.

"They (awardees) rose in protest against the atrocities committed on the people of Bangladesh. They associated with our aspiration, and our demand for equality, human dignity, and economic and social justice," Prime Minister Hasina said. According to official figures, Pakistani troops, aided by local collaborators, killed an estimated 3 million people, raped about 200,000 women and forced millions more to leave their homes during the bloody nine-month guerrilla war.